Cloth Diapering 101

Where Do I Begin?

First of all you have already started by considering cloth as an option for your diapering needs. You are probably considering cloth for financial or environmental reasons, but maybe you are just intrigued by all of the styles and brands that have evolved in recent years. All the brands, styles and lingo can be overwhelming so I have tried to outline some steps to point you in the right direction. Still not sure the benefits of cloth diapering for you? Read my Why Choose Cloth? article here.

What to do to begin:
1. Research what style of diapers you would like to predominantly use. I say predominantly, because I recommend having more than one style for different ages, stages and purposes. There are five main styles of diapers and some “hybrids” that are a cross between two styles. Read more about Cloth Diaper Styles here.

2. Determine your budget. Whether or not you are doing this for financial reasons it is smart to set a budget. This will influence how big your diaper stash is or what kinds of diapers you can afford. I recommend deciding WHAT STYLE of diaper to use before the budget, because you want cloth diapering to be a positive experience. Prefolds are the most affordable, but are not what everyone would be happy using. There are options like purchasing used diapers, washing more frequently and trading for other goods (on sites such as Diaper Swappers) to make your dream a reality. Crafty? Sew your own! Lastly, you don’t have to buy your whole stash at once. Get enough to start and add another diaper or two to your stash each paycheck until you’ve reached the number of diapers you would like.

3. Choose what brands you want to try.  Do as much research as you can on the different brands out there. There are SO many it can be overwhelming. You can find the brands I have reviewed here or try visiting a trusted retailer and see, touch and feel the different brands. Don’t live near a retailer? I did all of my initial research and ordering online so I feel for ya! One way to start is to visit a few trusted online retailers and notice the brands that are common between them. This is just one way to guess at what brands must be good although there are a lot of great diapers out there. Check out my shopping section and reviews for some sites and other recommendations.

4. Purchase a few diapers. As tempting as it will be to buy the dozen of brand A or B you want to make sure you like a brand before buying in bulk. Do as much research as you can about different brands and size options then narrow down to a few brands to try. Some families use one brand or style exclusively as this can be more user and cost friendly, but you will also want to try at least one of their products before investing in a whole stash. If you’re like me you will own many different brands and styles, but have a few extra of some of your favorite brands.

5. Detergent, detergent, detergent. Make sure you use a cloth diaper safe detergent. Any detergent approved for cloth diapers works for any laundry so save yourself some hassle by using a cloth diaper safe detergent for all of you laundry. Visit my laundry section for more information on detergents, washing and storing your diapers. I also have a comparison chart for my top 5 picks here.

This should get you started. After you’ve learned about some of the brands and washing instructions have fun with it! But be careful, it can be addicting (who, me?). I keep learning more about different brands, fabrics, accessories and tips on a daily basis and having a grand ‘ol time. Visit the rest of my cloth diaper section for more information and keep stopping by as I add more reviews and update old ones as I continue to use and review them.

{If you enjoyed reading Cloth Diapering 101 I would be tickled pink if you left a comment. To read more about my green(er) parenting aspirations, advice and adventures be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed or get updates via email.}


By Emi Stapler. I am a cloth diaper advocate, green parenting blogger, mother of three and a military wife who enjoys sharing my motherhood adventures and advice. Follow me at The Cloth Diaper Report on Facebook, Twitter @TheCDReport , Google +, Pinterest and Instagram.

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  1. Thanks for posting this, it's great info!!

  2. Ryan, Corrie, and Max says:

    Oooooh this is a great post! I just had a friend ask me for some basic info, and I felt like I went on and on. But this is nice and concise and says all the important things!! I'll be passing along the link to her!

  3. Thanks for this post. I am just getting started and I am finding this post and the link in it very helpful.

  4. Very helpful; thanks!

  5. Aurelie says:

    This is great information, thanks for sharing.

  6. Wow, this post is so helpful! I am going to be CD'ing my daughter starting a month after her birth (she's due in about 5 weeks!). I can't wait!

  7. this is helpful… thanks for posting… i did go ahead and buy a couple diapers from a couple different off brands (since the price is doable for hubby) and that way if i don't like them then it isnt a big deal since i didnt buy a huge stash :)

    coreybelle86 at yahoo dot com

  8. thanks for posting, this is soo helpful

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